Slate: We can no longer in good conscience use the term “Redskins” to describe Washington’s football team

posted at 11:21 am on August 8, 2013 by Allahpundit

Do you care? No. Do I care? No. Does the sports world care, given Slate’s non-reputation for football coverage? No. (Which Slate acknowledges, by the way.) Do I need something to blog during this excruciatingly slow news week, though? Yes, I do.

Fair warning: If the news doesn’t pick up today, there might be multiple atheism posts coming. Multiple.

[T]ime passes, the world changes, and all of a sudden a well-intentioned symbol is an embarrassment. Here’s a quick thought experiment: Would any team, naming itself today, choose “Redskins” or adopt the team’s Indian-head logo? Of course it wouldn’t…

So while the name Redskins is only a bit offensive, it’s extremely tacky and dated—like an old aunt who still talks about “colored people” or limps her wrist to suggest someone’s gay…

Changing how you talk changes how you think. The adoption of the term “African-American”—replacing “Negro” and “colored”—in the aftermath of the civil rights movement brought a welcome symmetry with Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans, groups defined by geographic origin rather than by race or color. Replacing “same-sex marriage” with “marriage equality” helped make gay marriage a universal cause rather than a special pleading. If Slate can do a small part to change the way people talk about the team, that will be enough.

Close readers of Slate know that we are owned by the Washington Post Co., which just sold the Washington Post newspaper, the market-maker in Redskins coverage. Slate and the Washington Post newspaper have always been editorially independent, and what we’ve decided has no bearing on the newspaper, which still refers to the Redskins. Speaking as a Post subscriber, I wish they would change. The Post is—along with ESPN and the other NFL broadcasters—one of the only institutions that could bring genuine pressure on Snyder to drop the name. But it’s only fair to acknowledge that it’s a much more difficult decision for the newspaper than it is for us, given that covering Dan Snyder’s team is essential to the Post’s editorial mission.

Good point at “Kissing Suzy Kolber”, which notes that some newspapers made this move more than 20 years ago: Go figure that Slate didn’t take the plunge on expunging “Redskins” until two days after the Post was sold to Jeff Bezos, severing the common ownership of the publications. It’s easy to be brave when your big brother no longer has to worry about reduced access to the team because of it, huh?

But look. While Slate’s grandstanding means nothing in itself, the cumulative effect of this stuff will, over time, erode the ‘Skins stubbornness in sticking by their name. The gay-marriage analogy in the excerpt isn’t totally off-base; this is all about moving the Overton window. Initially, virtually no one objects to “Redskins.” Then a few people object and get laughed at. Then the idea gets some traction politically and the laughter is replaced by defensive resoluteness. The back-and-forth pushes the issue further into the public eye and people who wouldn’t care one way or another start taking sides. Eventually prominent people in politics and entertainment start criticizing the current policy. Over time, the emphasis in media coverage shifts from “why are people making a big deal about this?” to “why is X standing in the way of progress?” At that point it’ll be such an irritating distraction that the Redskins will be open to a name-change purely in the interest of curing their headache. Your best line of defense here if you’re a traditionalist is that Dan Snyder, being Dan Snyder, might relish the chance to annoy his critics by refusing to change the name even after public opinion turns against it. Or maybe he’ll “compromise” by changing the logo from a Native American in headdress to a Native American in headdress extending a middle finger. New team nickname: The Washington Birds. I’d root for ’em. I’m a Jets fan; there’s nowhere to go but up.

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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

All you need to do is say you’re married to a Dundalk girl, and the circle is complete. RandallinHerndon on August 9, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Nah, Pigtown. The Ultimate Balleemore bona fide.

Akzed on August 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Not related directly to this thread, however.

Art Donovan RIP

Bmore on August 9, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Good ole Art.

Bmore on August 9, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Why does it matter what Blackboard says?

htom on August 9, 2013 at 4:35 PM

The Washington Kennewick Men.

CrustyB on August 9, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Fight for old D.C.!

potvin on August 9, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Who reads slate anyway?

leereyno on August 10, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Why not rename them the Indian term (feather not dot) that apparently means Vagina in every Indian language. PC turds.

trl on August 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

The Washington Deficits.

TheBad on August 8, 2013 at 1:07 PM

If we wanted to update the name to something more current I agree with this. And there are similar alternatives:

The Washington Ruling-Class
The Washington Nobles
The Washington Taxmen
The Washington Lawyers
The Washington Lobbyists
The Washington Liberals
The Washington Princes
The Washington Grifters
The Washington Con-Men
The Washington Bloviators
The Washington Insiders
The Washington Panderers
The Washington Traitors

virgo on August 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Slate: We can no longer in good conscience use the term “Redskins” to describe Washington’s football team are PC bleeding heart eunuchs and we are proud.


cableguy615 on August 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM

American Indian activists and others have been asking, urging, and haranguing the Washington Redskins to ditch their nickname, calling it a racist slur and an insult to Indians.

Umm, isn’t “Indian” supposed to be a racist, derogatory term that is an insult to “Native Americans”, lol?

xblade on August 10, 2013 at 5:14 PM

The Redskins, like every other long-term NFL franchise, have a nationwide following. If they want to lose that, changing their name from ‘Redskins’ would certainly work.

baldylox on August 10, 2013 at 9:19 PM

How about a name that refers to their historical record of performance? Something like “Fourth Quarter Fumblers”, or “Last Minute Losers”.

S. D. on August 11, 2013 at 10:27 AM

I’m having serious reservations about this.

pain train on August 8, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Sometimes, I wish Hot Air had like buttons. I know I’m a little late to the game … must be running on indian time, but this was hilarious to me.

wytammic on August 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Liberals would be happier with the term “Foreskins.”

NoPain on August 12, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4